Ryanair is targeting the winter 2011 schedule for introducing the
ultimate unbundled airfare option: a flight with no seat. The carrier aims to
start safety testing of its standing-room-only "vertical seats,"
which resemble leaning posts with seat belts attached, in summer next year, it
According to newspaper reports in advance of a program broadcasting on
United Kingdom television network ITV Thursday, Ryanair will make some of the
seats available for free—net of taxes and airport charges—while others will
cost up to €10. In order to make ten rows of standing room available at the
back of its Boeing 737s, the airline plans to remove five rows of conventional
seats and the two rear toilets. To control demand for the single toilet at the
front of the aircraft Ryanair will introduce a £1 charge for use.
Ryanair said it is looking initially to introduce vertical seating on
flights of up to one hour, such as its busy London-Dublin services. The airline
added it originally explored the idea a year ago and that talks have resumed
with Boeing in earnest. However, a spokesperson from the U.K. Civil Aviation
Authority interviewed for tonight's program said there are doubts over whether
the Ryanair plan could pass existing safety tests.
announced on Tuesday that it would reduce its winter 2010 capacity from the United
Kingdom by 16 percent in response to a hike in the country's air passenger
duty. Chief executive Michael O'Leary said he would move aircraft out of the United
Kingdom to countries that have lowered or scrapped tourist or passenger
charges. "Independent capacity analysis shows that growth has returned to
the Belgian, Dutch and Spanish markets after their governments scrapped tourist
taxes and/or reduced airport charges, in some cases to zero," O'Leary said.